Health & Fitness

Troian Bellisario on her struggles with anorexia and mental health: "It almost killed me"

The actress opened up in Lenny Letter.

By Jessica Chandra
Troian Bellisario Instagram

Troian Bellisario opened up about her personal struggles with anorexia and mental illness in the latest edition of Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter.

The Pretty Little Liars actress described how her body was often at war with her mind when her anorexia was at its worst.

“There is a part of my brain that defies logic,” she wrote. “Once, it completely convinced me I should live off 300 calories a day, and at some point, it told me even that was too much.”

“That part of my brain is my disease, and there was a time when it had absolute authority over me. It almost killed me, and you can see that even though I have lived in recovery for 10 years now, it still finds loads of fun, insidious ways to thwart me to this day.”

Troian credits her loved ones for helping her through the recovery stage. “It was a difficult journey finding my way back to health,” she wrote. “Through hard introspection, intense medical and mental care, a supportive family, friends, and a patient and loving partner, I survived, which is rare.”

The loving partner Troian thanked is her husband, Patrick J. Adams from Suits, who she married in a festival-style wedding in December last year.

The actress also channelled her personal experience into a new film, Feed, which she wrote, produced and stars in. Feed is about a teenager, Olivia, who loses control after the death of her twin brother, which drives her to an eating disorder.

“The voice of my disease is with me every day. I am practiced at ignoring it, for the most part, but it’s still there, finding new ways to undermine me. That’s partially why I wrote Feed. I wanted to channel that voice into a story and out of myself. I wanted to create a character who also wondered how she could be enough.”

Working on the film served as a form of therapy for Troian, who hopes “that someone watching it, struggling with the same challenges I do, might think, What if I were enough too?”

In another interview with Collider, Troian said she wanted to show a different side to eating disorders in Feed that isn’t often portrayed in popular culture. “What I was trying to convey to a lot of people is that there’s a large portion of your eating disorder that’s a way of dealing with something deeper,” she said. “It’s a coping mechanism, and you have coping mechanisms in your life because they work. That was a tough thing for me.”

If you’re struggling with mental health issues or are worried about someone who might be, contact Beyond Blue now on 1300 22 4636.